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Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

Heroes And Villains

McSweeney’s presents a list of Pavement and Guided By Voices song titles and lyrics that could double as political slogans or terrorist training manual chapter titles, respectively. What a strange thing to compile. From Hold My Life.

And speaking of McSweeney’s, last night I finished issue 13 of their Quarterly Concern – the comics issue. Edited by Chris Ware, this volume collects essays on comic strips, traces the history of the medium (complete with early examples) and presents samples of work from some of the finest independent cartoonists working today (Joe Sacco, Seth, Chester Brown, Los Bros Hernandez amongst many many others). It’s a gorgeous hardbound collection that celebrates the history and potential of sequential art and storytelling and gives a lifelong fan of the medium such as myself warm fuzzies. Obviously with such a varied collection, I liked some of the pieces better than others (and some I found nigh unreadable), but almost all of it was worth at least a read to remind me that there’s comics beyond the mainstream spandex and superhero books that I tend to favour.

And speaking of mainstream spandex and superhero comic books, next up in my reading pile is Give Our Regards To The Atomsmashers!, a collection of essays by a variety of established authors about comic books and how they influenced their childhoods, lives and work. Or at least that’s what it promises from the sleeve jacket. As I said – I haven’t actually read it yet.

And speaking (further) of superheroes, I want to formally recommend everone with an interest in such things to watch the Justice League Unlimited cartoon – it’s fantastic. I’ve always liked the comic book-based cartoons that featured the less obvious characters (my favourite episode of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends was “7 Little Superheroes”, which guest-starred Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Dr Strange and Shanna the She-Devil (!!)), and JLU delivers in spades. In addition to the predictable core cast of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, blah blah blah, it expands the Justice League roster to include almost every other b- and c-list hero in the DC Universe. The last few episodes I’ve watched have featured the likes of Zatanna, Elongated Man, Hawk & Dove, Etrigan, The Question and B’Wanna Beast (seriously!) in either feature roles or cameos. I love it. The writing and animation is excellent, combining just the right doses of humour and more mature-themed content. Till now it’s only been running on the Cartoon Network – I’ve been having to bit torrent each episode – but it debuts on YTV in Canada starting this Friday, September 10th at 9pm EST. Catch it, it’s good.

And speaking of comic books on the small (or big) screen, it looks like Joss Whedon will be directing X3. The Beat suggests it as a very strong rumour while other sources seem to think it’s a done deal. The truth will out in the next few days or so, I’m sure. I think Whedon would make a fine replacement for Bryan Singer – he’s doing a bang-up job as writer on Astonishing X-Men right now, and he knows a thing or two about directing.

Okay, enough comic stuff. Music!

So has no one else noticed that the title track from The Hidden Cameras’ Mississauga Goddam sounds a whole hell of a lot like XTC’s “The Disappointed”? I had to check the liner notes to see if Andy Patridge got a credit. It’s still a pretty song, but it seemed kinda blatant to me.

Pitchfork talks to Low about why they signed to SupPop and what to expect from their next album, The Great Destroyer, due out early next year. Two words: Grunge Revival.

Emm Gryner’s new record will be something of a departure for her – an album of covers! Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Lord knows I love a good cover song as much as the next guy, but that will make two of her seven full-lengths comprised completely of covers (plus one of demos and b-sides). I guess it’s tough to properly produce new material when you’re constantly playing sideplayer to the likes of David Bowie and The Cardigans. Anyway, Songs Of Love & Death has a theme – they’re all songs by Irish artists. A natural choice for a Canadian musician from just outside Sarnia of Filipino-German Filipino-Irish descent (see? I change one word and all the sarcasm just… disappears!). Yeah. Anyway, the album is out October 26.

New Order have finished recording their new record, expect to be done mixing by the end of September and hope to have it ready for the end of October.

np – The Hidden Cameras / Mississauga Goddam

By : Frank Yang at 9:22 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. sam says:

    hey, how’s the hidden cameras album? and being a cameras virgin myself – what does it sound like?

  2. Justin says:

    I’m still making my way through the McSweeneys comics issue. I read some and then forget I have it! Stupid me.

    I’m also liking the JLU cartoon. So cool to see The Question in the last ep and paired with a boxing-glove shooting Green Arrow made it even better!

  3. Frank says:

    Sam – the Hidden Cameras record sounds like XTC’s "Nonesuch" combined with watersports and enemas! No, it’s lushly orchestrated folky songs with fairly sexually explicit lyrics. This is my first Cameras album as well, and I don’t think it measures up to the energy of their live shows.

    Justin – the scene where The Question is singing the teeny-pop song while smashing the glass door had me laughing my ass off. I’ve never actually understood what The Question did… but he never struck me as the sort of guy who’d have a dorm room on the Justice League satellite.

  4. graig says:

    Thanks for the info about JLU… highly looking forward to it.

    And I have to agree that the albums don’t capture what makes the live shows special, but they’re also their own beast.

    "Mississauga Goddamn" is a vast improvement on the seemingly sloppy and empty sounding "A Smell Of Our Own", while "Ecce Homo" is an intriguing bedroom 4-track production Joel did solo. I think Ecce is the best of the albums because it is so different from the live shows but they should really just produce some live albums.

  5. Carla says:

    That list of Pavement song titles and lyrics was posted on a Pavement community I monitor. My contribution was "Hit the plane down…there’s no survivors".

  6. Shoma says:

    I agree that "Mississauga Goddam" is an improvement on "Smell Of Our Own" only in that it sounds more mature and tighter than its predecessor. But I still think that even with its flaws "Smell Of Our Own" is more instantaneously glorious than MG. I love both albums, though. I treat "Ecce Homo" as a great 4-Track demo of what was to come – blissful, devotional hymns that even my mom enjoys.

  7. Justin says:

    Yeah, the Question isn’t the type of guy who’d have a dorm room on the satellite. Kinda what makes the show fun. He was played a bit nuttier than the Denny O’Neil version of the 90s, which I loved. Still, few visuals cooler than that blank face.

  8. Karen says:

    Emm’s of Filipinio-IRISH decent. Makes sense now?

  9. Karen says:

    Emm’s of Filipino-IRISH decent. Makes sense now?

  10. Karen says:

    hmmm… what doesn’t make sense is that post, what with all the typos. let’s try that again:

    "…Emm’s of Filipino-IRISH descent."

    et voila.

    – Karen.

  11. Frank says:

    really, I could have sworn I read somewhere it was German… okay, I stand corrected.

  12. j.a.l says:

    i anxiously await the booster gold episode of JLU